Well, it is 2017, and we all know what that means. Time to break out a new planner! For some of us, this decision took up a lot of time in late 2016. Wickeds, do you use a paper planner? Any particular brand? Do you use it for all aspects of your life, or one part only? What do you like best about your system? Let us know!
Liz: I love planners. I love planning for planners. And I love trying new ones. I have a couple that are high on my list to try, but towards the end of last year I got the Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner from Dragontree. It doesn’t have pre-populated dates so you can start whenever. There’s a lot of planning involved meant to help you articulate your dreams and goals so the actual work makes sense and is following a path. I did a lot of the pre-work at the end of the year and now I’m looking forward to trying the actual monthly planning piece. It breaks it down as nitty-gritty as you want, with monthly/quarterly/yearly goals, monthly/weekly/daily tasks and life planning, and even gratitude reflections. I’ll let you all know how it turns out!
Jessie: Like Liz, I adore planners. I find that by writing things out by hand I manage to meet more of my goals. This year I am using a new planner from Ink and Volt and so far, it is all I could ask of a time management/ course setting tool. It has a great weekly spread with just the sort of flexible structure that helps me to mindfully manage my time without squeezing the joy from my existence. There are monthly goals and a habit tracker which I am using to develop a meditation practice. Since I work from home I use a single planner for my professional and private life. I have a second notebook that I use to track quarterly goals, evaluate my long-term plans and to record appreciations on a weekly basis. I know that sort of planning isn’t for everyone but it has worked extraordinarily well for me for several years. In fact, I don’t believe I would have my career without it.
Barb: I love my planner. That must be a writer thing, based on what Liz and Jessie said above. However, being a person who loves her routines, I didn’t search out a new one this year. I’ve been using a Levenger Circa junior-sized notebook for almost two decades. I use the monthly calendar tabs as dividers and all my notes– business, volunteer, vacation journals, writing, home life, to-dos, etc.–are chronological. After three or four months, I archive the calendar pages and notes. I just did this for September-December 2016. I’ve found over the years, that I can remember when something happened much more easily than accessing the information any other way, so the chrono style suites me much better than dividing things into categories, some of which, inevitably don’t make sense in the long run. The one exception is my current book or short story. Because the Circa pages are so easy to move, I can take notes out of my chrono notebook and put them into the notebooks housing my writing projects. My husband makes fun of me for still using a paper calendar. But then, during our more-or-less-weekly meetings to sync up, I make fun of him because he has to wait for his computer to boot up and then needs all the details in order to make an entry.
Sherry: Oh, Barb — it’s not an all writers thing. I use my phone and my calendar for planning. My husband and I share a calendar so we can see each other’s events. It’s cold, it’s sterile, but it works for me. However, Liz was here over the weekend and she was looking at planners while we were out. I have to say her enthusiasm for them and all the beautiful ones we saw did tempt me. But did I succumb? No. I’ll make a note about it on my phone and set a reminder.
Barb: Sherry, laughing at this! I do think if my husband and I shared a calendar, we’d be better informed. But then we’d miss all those lovely “discussions.”
Jessie: Barb, my husband and I sit down every Sunday for a weekly planning and appreciations/goals date. It is one of the highlights of our week together. I had no idea anyone else did that!
Edith: I don’t use a planner and I still use a paper calendar – two, in fact, plus a table of due dates and release dates. This year I finally got comfortable with my Google calendar, and I love that it syncs itself between my phone and my computers. (That SO ages me – of course our phones are also computers these days! Oh, well. I claim my position as the oldest Wicked and I’m proud of it. I earned these wisdom wrinkles.) The picture to the right is from two years ago. Nothing but the year has changed on the wall in front of my desk. I love my Tibetan Nuns Project calendar. It’s compact, easy to carry somewhere, and doesn’t take up a lot of real estate. And I also “archive” my calendars – that is, I don’t throw them away and can check back to see when something happened or where I went.
However, my additional responsibilities as President of Sisters in Crime New England has already overtaxed my planning skills, and it’s only been four days… I’ll figure something out. And for writing, I just put everything in Scrivener. So far it’s working for me. Why change that?
Julie: I am a planner addict as well. In fact, Jessie introduced me to Ink and Volt, and so far I LOVE IT. Because of the way it is structured, around yearly and monthly goal setting, it inspires. But since time isn’t broken down into hours, but instead in blocks, it melds well with my “at some point this afternoon I have to write thank you note to donors” rather than “I failed because it was scheduled from 1-2, and something else happened.” I also use Google calendars for meetings and appointments, and update the paper calendar daily, but writing things down, including notes, color coding, making accountability lists? I love it. I was a huge Franklin Covey fan, so I use parts of that system as well. I also have a Bullet Journal that I use for notes, plotting, inspiring quotes. Basically, my planner is a diary that helps me stay organized. Other great planners include the Passion Planner and Planner Pad. I am intrigued by Liz’s Dragontree Planner, and may explore that when I have more time to noodle.
Friends, do you use a paper planner? What system do you use? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?